Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thermos Cookin'

Let me tell you about an experiment that I did today. When I started there was no reason to think that it wouldn't work. So I am writing this up as it goes, with the final report unknown at this point.

I have a 1-quart, stainless steel wide mouth thermos. I'll try this for the cooker.

The recipe is for rice and beans.
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup TVP (bacon bits)
  • 2 tsp bouillion
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp taco powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 2 cups boiling water
Pre-tempered thermos by pouring in boiling water and waiting 5 minutes, then dumped everything in the thermos. Closed up tight and waited for eight hours.

Results? Well that didn't work. Crunchy beans and rice.

Phase II

OK....what I am thinking is that the beans have to be soaked first. Then the mess has to be brought to a boil and dumped into the tempered thermos. I am thinking that just dumping the cold ingredients and hot water together into the thermos at the same time just used a great deal of the heat energy to bring the temp of the ingredients up and the overall heat energy of the system down.

So now I think that I oughta establish the thermal characteristics of the thermos itself.

a) Temper thermos with room temp water for five minutes, then dump in 4 cups of boiling water, measure temperature and wait 8 hours, measure temperature again.  Water temp at beginning 200.  Water Temp at end =142

b) Temper thermos with boiling water for five minutes, then dump in 4 cups of boiling water, measure temperature and wait 8 hours, measure temperature again.  Water Temp at beginning 205. Water Temp at end = 162

2 comments:

Publius said...

Great experiment. Simple, but useful.
I bought a nice Stanley thermos for just such purposes.
My guess is that the key is to soak the beans overnight (at least), and better yet, boil the beans before adding. The rice shouldn't be a problem.

tweell said...

Always soak the beans overnight! If you have a flatulence problem (cough) you may want to throw away the soak water. Definitely have all ingredients at boiling temperature before putting in thermos.
This is very similar to a 'hot box'. A 'hot box' is a box with insulation (cloth, straw, etc.) preformed to take a particular pot. Put your presoaked beans and other ingredients in the pot, get them boiling, then put the pot in the hot box. Take it out a few hours later, supper's ready. I have to feed more than just me, you see.